Writing the Perfect iProfile CV

Go back a few thousand years and us Homo sapiens weren’t anything special to look at. We walked with a hunch, talked in grunts and had a life expectancy of around 30 years. Isn’t evolution a beautiful thing? The standard CV has been around for a fair while and hasn’t kept up with the times, especially when it comes to working for you online; so we can be thankful that the CV has evolved into the iProfile, which is the preferred CV template of leading recruiters because it is a searchable, sendable, printable and online version of the CV. Even though the CV has evolved, there are still some excellent CV writing tips that you should follow when compiling your iProfile.

Choosing the right content for your CV

One of the most common problems faced when writing CVs is deciding what information to include. To decide on the most suitable content for your iProfile you should begin with a long list of all your skills, experiences, jobs, achievements and positions of responsibility you’ve held. This list shouldn’t just include hard skills (such as exam qualifications) but should also include evidence for a list of the transferable skills you’ve got (such as negotiating or communication) and the experiences that you’ve had which most clearly demonstrate these skills. From this master list you can construct different versions of your iProfile CV which best suit the job you are applying for.

Tailoring your iProfile CV for each job

The truth is that there isn’t one perfect iProfile CV which would get you an interview for every job you sent it out for. But there is a perfect iProfile CV for each individual job. Your iProfile CV should make a convincing display that you have read the job advert, understood what it is that an employer is looking for and that you can offer the skills and experience to do the job. It should achieve this with a minimum of fuss. Depending on which survey you believe CVs get between 15 seconds and 5 minutes to sell you as a candidate. With so little time available, you have to make sure that each application is customised for the occasion.

Don’t make the basic CV mistakes

If your iProfile CV has any basic errors then don’t expect to get a job anytime soon. Spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, being wacky, missing vital information (especially contact information), weird fonts, putting too much information (one recruiter got a CV with the names of the applicant’s cats on it) are all elementary errors you need to avoid.

Use the right language for your CV

Many people often struggle with the language of self-promotion when writing a CV. Fortunately, your iProfile CV doesn’t need to be jammed with self-aggrandising statements ("If they gave gold medals for teamwork I’d win them all.") If you need to refer to yourself, do so in the first person ("I achieved the highest sales figures every month") rather than in the third person (as in referring to yourself by your name). A good iProfile CV shouldn’t need to resort to the first person too much though, as you should be concentrating on using facts and figures as your evidence rather than simple statements about your abilities ("I’m great at selling, honest.")

Avoid buzz words

There are only seven people in the whole of the UK who know what the word "synergy" means. If you find that you are filling your iProfile with buzz words and jargon then it’s probably because you’re making up for a shortfall of evidence or skills. Return to your master list of experiences, skills and qualifications and use these in your iProfile CV rather than trying to bamboozle an employer with business speak. The same goes for technical jargon. Aim for simple statements, facts and plain words.

Length of your CV

Although it is tempting to put everything from your master list of skills on your iProfile CV and simply let a recruiter pick out what is applicable to them, you’ve got to customise your application to the job. An employer hasn’t got the time to make a persuasive case on your behalf. For the old CVs it was a truism that two pages were the absolute maximum you should go to. Just because you’re online and it makes little difference if your document is 5k or 400MB, you should still aim to include all the necessary facts to make a persuasive case and no more. For example try and list the skills most appropriate to a job - a good piece of advice is to try and list no more than ten key skills in your iProfile.

Be Honest

In one survey 5% of people admitted to lying on their job applications. Regardless of whether your iProfile is a work of fiction that Jeffrey Archer would be proud of, the more important statistic to bear in mind is that 93% of employers stated that if they discovered an applicant had lied then they would terminate their employment. For most employers this includes if your lies are discovered after you have got the job. In short, if you lie when writing a CV it will forever be hanging over your head. Lying even includes relatively "minor" things such as changing job titles to make them sound more important, or increasing your previous salaries.

Presentation and ordering

One of the many useful things about the iProfile CV is that it formats your information for you, so that it always looks professional and the month-long discussions about whether you should put two or three spaces in between a heading and the content are a thing of the past. Although this solves the question of CV presentation there is still the question of how to order your information. The answer is that you should give the most relevant information as close to the beginning of your CV as possible. For example when choosing which of your key skills to add to the list make sure that the most relevant to the position are listed first.

Writing your profile statement

This is the section of an iProfile that many recruiters look at first, because it gives them the elevator pitch for what a candidate is all about. This means that this profile statement must be tailored to the particular job you are applying for. Generally, the profile statement should be written in around five short sentences each emphasising a reason why you are right for the job. Even though there is no limit to how long your profile can be, try and limit it - don’t just re-write your entire CV. Aim for five headline reasons why you are the right candidate for this particular job, emphasising relevant experience, qualifications and personal attributes.

Don’t assume a recruiter will understand your terms

The line between explaining too much and too little is extremely fine. This is most evident when it comes to the employment history section of your iProfile CV. For example, if you were previously an account manager then the roles that are given this title vary enormously. For that reason it is worth giving a brief description of your previous roles, as well as highlighting three or four aspects of the job that make it relevant to the role you are applying for. The fact is that a recruiter might have a very different idea of what an account manager does and unless you are clear then you might be passed over.

Referees

Many people worry about giving the names of their referees on their CV’s in case they are contacted out of the blue and it gives away the fact that you are applying for other roles. The quick and easy solution to this problem is to simply state "References available on request". It can also be good depending on your field of work to offer other evidence for a recruiter to look at - perhaps you can offer to show previous projects, articles or drawings - again these can be made available on request. Do not forget that it is both polite and highly advisable to ask permission from the people you are giving as your referees on your CV. If a request drops out of the blue they might be less inclined to help you out and a quick word beforehand can get you an altogether more glowing review.